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Sorting out rubbish...

This page contains information about reducing the amount of rubbish we each produce and the amount of it that goes into the landfill. 
Updated: 15/03/2017 12:01 a.m.

​It might not be a pleasant job but sorting through rubbish can help reduce waste, according to WDC Solid Waste Engineer, Jo Floyd.

Jo has a passion for rubbish that probably rivals that of Oscar the Grouch – except unlike Oscar, her passion is for reducing the amount of rubbish we each produce and the amount of it that goes into the landfill. 

Among her many initiatives that Council promotes has been the “Love food, hate waste” programme which is about making the most of the food we buy and cook, with good advice and creative recipes that help people stop throwing away good healthy food. 

One of the ways to see what people waste, and whether or not they recycle, is to audit rubbish bags and wheelie bins collected from the normal kerbside collection. 

That is exactly what a team has been doing in Whangarei during the past week. 

First they collected a random assortment of Council rubbish bags and the contents of Northland Waste’s wheelie bins from each of Whangarei’s city collection areas. 

They sorted through the rubbish and classified each item, for example, paper, plastic, organic, and noted whether it was recyclable.  

“Sadly we did notice a lot of food waste, and that is the sort that, when it goes into the landfill, rots down and causes greenhouse gases. It also means that all the resources that went into producing that food were wasted too e.g. the nutrients in the soil the animal or plant grew on, the transportation costs, the processing costs to name a few. These resources could have gone into food that feeds hungry people. We’d like to see people wasting less food as time goes by which will save them money, keep everybody fed and keep the planet healthy too. The information we have gathered will be analysed and we will report back to you with the results.”

“There seemed to be quite a lot of recyclable material going into rubbish bags and even more into wheelie bins so we’d like to see that turn around too. We are looking at introducing larger recycling containers in a year or so which will help people to recycle more.” said Mrs Floyd. 

“The results of the survey will help us to identify opportunities to reduce waste to landfill.  In May we will also audit transfer station and landfill waste.” 

She said the information gathered during the audit will be used for Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan which is being updated. 

Mrs Floyd thanked the Waste Watchers staff and Allied Workforce staff who undertook the unpleasant job of sorting the waste.



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